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Date: 07-26-2000

Case Style: Tamie Kay Ware, Personal Representative of Branndon Ray Ware, deceased, v. Muskogee, Oklahoma, a Municipal Corporation, Michael Pickering, Lance Whitman, and Rex Eskridge

Case Number: 99-cv-644

Judge: Frank Seay

Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma

Plaintiff's Attorney: Albert R. Matthews of Bond, Matthews, Bond & Hayes, Muskogee, Oklahoma

Defendant's Attorney: Scott B. Wood of Whitten, McGuire, Wood, Terry, Roselius & Dittrich, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Description: In December 1999, the District Court in and for Muskogee County, Oklahoma issued a temporary emergency custody order for Sammy Ware, Tammy Ware and Brandon Ware. The order had been issued based on information received by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services that the home in which the Ware children were living did not have adequate food, water or utilities and that illegal drugs were being utilized in the home.

Employees of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services had tried to serve the order several times unsuccessfully. On January 5, 1999, LaDonna Prichard, an employee of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services drove by the Ware's home at 1122 Augusta in Muskogee, Oklahoma and observed the Ware children in the backyard. Ms. Prichard decided to serve the order. She contacted the Muskogee Police Department to request assistance in executing the TECO.

Office Michael Pickering of the Muskogee Police Department was dispatched to assist Ms. Prichard. This was Officer Pickering's first time to assist with a TECO. After assessing the situation, Officer Pickering requested backup in issuing the TECO. Office Lance Whitman was dispatched.

The Officers and Ms. Prichard tried to obtain access into the home by knocking on the door and requesting someone to answer. However, their efforts were unsuccessful. Ms. Prichard decided to speak with the Judge who issued the TECO about gaining access into the home. While she was gone, Officers Whitman and Pickering stayed at the home. While waiting, a women (sic), identifying herself as the landlord, arrived at the home. She provided the officers access into the Ware home. Upon entering the officers Whitman and Pickering found Greg, Tamie, Brandon, Tammy and Sammy Ware was well as two unrelated individuals.

Ms. Prichard explained to Greg and Tamie Ware an order had been entered which gave the State of Oklahoma custody of Brandon, Tammy and Sammy Ware. Greg Ware refused to cooperate and relinquish the children to the Department of Human Services. Officers Pickering and Whitman announced they were going to arrest Greg Ware for interfering with an officer. Officer Whitman attempted to take Mr. Ware into custody.

A struggle between Mr. Ware and Officer Whitman ensued. The fight moved from room to room throughout the home. Suddenly Brandon Ware came at Officer Whitman with a knife and grazed Officer Whitman's neck. Brandon Ware then drew back the knife as if to stab Officer Whitman again. Officer Pickering fired one shot at Brandon Ware. He died from the injuries he received.

On December 3, 1999, plaintiff Tamie Ware as the personal representative of the estate of Brandon Ware filed a complaint against defendants alleging her constitutional rights were violated when Officers Pickering and Whitman shot and killed her son.

Defendants moved for summary judgment.

Outcome: Motions granted.

Plaintiff's Experts: Unknown

Defendant's Experts: Unknown

Comments: None

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